Saturday, September 3, 2016

How Divorce, Miscarriage, Homelessness, and a Thrift Store Addiction led to Three Years of Positive Blogging

Three years ago, I created a blog. 

It became more than just cheap thrills and thrift store finds. It became more than just a business venture. It became more than just my first serious foray into entrepreneurship. 

For me, The Reclaimed has become my home. It is where my voice matters. It was my lifeline on bad days, my party room on good days, my newsroom on eventful days, and on days like this, it is safe space where I come to reflect. 

Between Reclaimed Readables, ManCrushMondays, TuesdayShoesDays, and all of the other days full of fashion, frugality, faith, and fun, I found my focus. 

And it almost never happened. I didn't think it had a point. I didn't think it was going to make any difference. I wasn't even sure if this would be a successful blog. What I was sure that it was time for me to write again. It was time for me to stop hiding the once most important gift I was given by God and use it to make the world a little bit better. 

It started with a really cool little thrift store find but has grown into a space to discuss everything from style to spirituality and everything in between.

A few days ago, my once little blog turned three years old. Now with over 1.5 million views, and thousands of followers across the blog itself and various social platforms, a growing newsletter community, and students being helped by lessons from my own course, there isn't anything small about it. 

This is not a boast. This isn't a humble brag. This is a moment of sheer humility. This is an example of what taking a step of faith toward your God given dreams can do. I'm not boasting on anything but the God who gave me the dream, but also the drive and the gift to pursue it. 

It's humbling when you are picked to, yes go through trials so that others can see how to keep faith and survive only to turn out better than before you went in, but also to be picked to illustrate to the world what it looks like to be a person with a dream that many others have but few ever reach and find yourself on the road there and doing well.

This is to inspire any one of you who may read this and be stuck believing the lies that there are too many people doing what you want to do or that you don't have enough whatever or that you aren't good enough. 

You are. You are good enough to live a life worthy of your calling. You are good enough for the prize that awaits those that will get it if you don't quit. You are good enough, and you can do it... 

Just look at me. I was a young, pregnant divorcé with no home, no job, and soon, no baby. I had everything I liked and loved stripped from me in one brutal and humiliating season. I watched my husband walk away, my funds disappear, and my baby die within my own body. It was the worst time of my life. 

But, it was also the best. God met me there, at the lowest point in my entire life, at the bottom of everything, He caught me. I cling to Him more on that season than I had in the previous two decades of being a Christian. 

I grew stronger, bit by bit, day by day, month by month, attending worship services and bible studies and praying, literally all the time. Soon, I wasn't just attending the Sunday School, I could teach it. Soon, I wasn't just a member of the ministries, I was leading them. Soon, I wasn't just a leader, I was one of the leaders people looked to for help. 

Finally, after counseling and time and prayer and growth, I can look back and see that that horrible time in my life where everything was being stripped away was God actually rescuing me. Stay with me now, I'll explain. 

I married young, yes, because I was in love. But also because I wanted to hide. I had greatness spoken over me since before I was old enough to speak myself. And it scared me. I just wanted to be "normal", to hide in the mundane and be like everyone else. I had this all planned out. I would get married to someone with small dreams, have kids, be a preschool teacher...and die everyday because I wasn't living up to my calling or gifts. 

By having it all ripped away, it not only freed me from the curse of living a life that was not mine to live, but it taught me that I can make it through some really rough times and still come out a winner. I could have died in any one of those situations I talked about earlier, but I didn't. I'm still here, over seven years later, with a deep love for God, but also a deep love and respect for myself. I earned my stripes. And now I know confidently that I can make it any situations that God allows me to go through. 

Now you maybe wondering where I'm going with this, after all we did start by talking about this blog. 

Well, I would dare say that I may have a never started The Reclaimed if I didn't have a confidence in myself that I could do it for the belief that this is something that I was supposed to do. I got both of those through my last dark season walking with just God and me.
I wouldn't have any of this if I had stayed in a marriage that I was never meant to have doing nothing but hiding from the things that I know that I was called to. I'm not saying that being married and having kids is a curse, by no means! I hope to actually have a family very soon someday. 

What I am saying is that too often many of us are frightened by the great thing is that we are called to that we will run and hide wherever we can. I chose to hide within the family. Some people choose to hide and alcohol. Some people choose to hide with in their jobs. But wherever you are hiding, It's time to come out and face the great thing that you've been called to do. 

There may be some difficult times, painful times, times you're not sure if you're going to make it. But if you hold on, trust in the One that is leading you, and keep going, you will make it. And you will be better for it. I should know, I've been there. And if I can make it through that, you can too. And you will have a story, not a bedtime story, but a war story where you fight for your life and you earn yours. 

That is the story of The Reclaimed. The story of a Reclaimed life, a life on the verge of forfeit, dragged through hell, only to re-emerge, yes baring scars but also bearing a testimony and a passion that propels me daily. As one lady put it so well when she met me a while back. "You burn hot, young lady". I burn hot for my faith. I burn hot for things close to my heart. I burn hot to tell people that, no matter where you are, what you've done, or what you're going through, that you can still live The Reclaimed life, as I say on the blog, "...where your best life is still within your reach."

So yes, The Reclaimed turn three, three years of fashion and beauty and positivity, but also three years of growth, challenges, setbacks and victories. Three years of change, failures, and wins. Three years of firsts and three years of lasts. Three long, but three very good, gratitude filled years.

Here's to three great years. May we, as writer and reader, continue to share many more.


Thank you!